February 2007


  • Arts advocates and supporters have a new vehicle to find out about art and cultural happenings in the US and specific areas of the Middle East.
  • ArteNews is a new web based newsletter that offers ongoing updates on arts news and events pertaining to the Middle East and its diaspora.
  • Read featured articles that review events, give insight into cultural programs and regional ventures, and offer critical commentary on the cultural and artistic productions that make up the diverse Middle Eastern scene. 
  • Our goal is to provide a wealth of resources that have until now been unavailable in one place. As we continue to develop ArteNews, you will be able to access news and event listings from regional newspapers, film festivals, art galleries, museums, cinemateques and arts and educational institutions.

    All images and text are copyrighted material owned by either the artist and/or writer and are reprinted with explicit permission for ArteNews and cannot be reprinted without consent of artist or author.

Maymanah Farhat is the editor of ArteNews.




Attention Artists: We are working to compile a running list of international opportunities specifically for Middle East aritsts including: calls for entry, grants, fellowships, conferences, workshops and more.

If you have a listing, please email us at [email protected]






Interview with Hoda Hadadi
By Hamid Rahmanian and Melissa Hibbard

Writer and illustrator Hoda Hadadi talks about working in Iran as a book illustrator, international reception of contemporary Iranian Illustration and her creative process.


Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture, the Search for a Super-hero and Current Egyptian Contemporary Art Practices: A Local Egyptian versus Some Established Western Analytical Regards
By Khaled Hafez

The effect of the parabolic satellite culture dominated by Western/American media and advertising in the last two decades is undeniably omnipresent today, and for the past two decades, in the everyday behavior of societies of the Middle East.


Representing Palestine in photographs and videos: Darat al-Funun organizes a tightly themed exhibition
By Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

This article first appeared in the Daily Star on February 8, 2006 and is reprinted with permission of the author.

For the generation of Palestinians who were exiled from their land in 1948, it was the rusted key and dog-eared land deed. For the generation who lived through the first intifada in the late 1980s, it was the stone and keffiyeh.






Quarterly Feature: Artists Reflect on Contemporary International Art
Edited by Maymanah Farhat

With the popularity of Middle Eastern art increasing, several mainstream art publications, including ARTnews, Art Forum and Art in America, have given extensive coverage to art exhibitions in which Middle Eastern artists are represented. Yet little is known about the developments of this art within mainstream discourse. In fact, outside the region, few art historical examinations include discussions of the evolution of modern and contemporary art of the Middle East and its diaspora. This remains highly problematic, as countless exhibitions claim to present audiences with a glimpse into this specific visual culture. A lack of information and understanding frequently allows for the omission of serious aesthetic and conceptual analysis, limiting artists and their work to restrictive categorizations often based on “ethnic” identifications. Such deficiencies in curatorial practice narrowly define the parameters in which the impact of artists is realized in the global art scene since the discourse that results from these exhibitions influences how the art is discussed elsewhere.

In our ongoing efforts to offer critical commentary on the cultural and artistic productions of the Middle East and its diaspora, ArteNews has invited several visual artists to participate in a quarterly feature devoted to examining the current state of contemporary international art. Inspired by late writer and curator Katharine Kuh’s 1960s interviews with seventeen European and American modern artists (such as Marcel Duchamp, Stuart Davis, Georgia O’Keefe and Joseph Albers) (1), five questions were posed to artists of diverse creative backgrounds. By presenting artists with questions concerning the global art scene and their readings of, and individual contributions to, contemporary art, we aim to highlight the breadth of Middle Eastern art. We anticipate that readers will regard this as a unique opportunity to become conversant with the varied experiences and opinions of individuals shaping art today. In short, this special issue intends to underscore how Middle Eastern artists fit in the realm of international art and art history.

1. Kuh, Katherine. 1962. “The Artist’s Voice: Talks with Seventeen Modern Artists; Harper & Row: New York

Hamdi Attia:

"Artists are struggling to find a way to deal with the complexity of the world today as it is made manifest in multiple and interlinking political, cultural, and social contexts. What makes this struggle very important and difficult for artists is the anxiety over the rise of anti-liberal and right-wing forces in the international political scene, which affects art and its evaluation."




Abdelali Dahrouch:

"The scholarship that informs the interdisciplinary arena of art comprises a heterogeneous field that expands the bandwidth of the ways an artwork can cohere and be engaged. The very premise of scholarship; however, also asserts a notion of expertise and it is this conflation of power and knowledge that has installed the very hegemonic paradigms in art that the visual arts sector has been critiquing for over a century (i.e. the aesthetic paradigm of Western modernism)."




Jayce Salloum:

"There is no one transcendental state of contemporary international art, but if you are speaking of the ‘art market’ then it is generally as it always has been, mediocre, self-serving, ahistorical, neoliberal or conservative (same diff), and mildly titillating from time to time when it needs new blood. If we can label “contemporary international art” as a genre then I would describe it as exemplary of vacuous conceptualism. It is almost like a cloud of chemical gas that floats through the atmosphere and indiscriminately overwhelms the innocents and not so innocent alike."




Athir Shayota:

"Scholarship as it relates to contemporary international art should align itself with movements, not be neutral but maintain integrity as an active speaker and amplifier of ideas and artists, especially those which are kept underground and silenced, in turn destabilizing the perceptions of larger society. True scholarship itself becomes a political act."




Mustafa Ali:

"It is not a desire to know that has pushed art establishments’ interest in Islamic and Middle Eastern art; their motives are market driven, political and economic, resulted in an interest and investment in art of the Middle East in order to transfer it from the local level to the global. It became clear to Western art establishments and the people of the region that Middle Eastern art has elevated spiritual life and behind it philosophical thinking that proves the existence of these people."




Khaled Hafez:

"With the exception of the pioneer and near-avant-guarde curatorial work of Marilu Knode (currently curator at the Scottsdale Museum, Arizona) and Martina Corgnati (Italian academic, art historian, critic and curator, currently finishing her book on Middle Eastern contemporary art practices) who both showed interest in Middle Eastern art practices as early as 1996, and who sensed a “premonition” somewhere in the virtual art spaces that a wave of Middle Eastern art and artists would emerge, I personally believe this current interest only started with the grave incidents of 9/11."




Samia Halaby:

"The liberation movement of Palestine, the important early movement in Iraq during the 20th century and the many original and politicized artists of Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria, are all candidates for serious study and preservation, as they are all threatened by war and destruction. The newly emerging international interest presents a danger of a different type, a type where the carrot to obedience is extended to those that escape destruction."

Interested in writing for ArteNews?
We're looking for artists, critics and art enthusiasts who know what's going on in the art scene all over the world to contribute.  Click here for more info.

If you would like post an upcoming event at ArteNews, please email us with all the important info, including place, dates, and contact info: [email protected]
Fast Links to Upcoming Events:
Washington DC::

Athir Shayota: Iraqi Portraits at the Jerusalem Fund Gallery, Jan 19 – 2 Mar, 2007

Body of Evidence: Contemporary African Art including the work of Egyptian artist Chant Avedissian, through February 28, 2007at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

Freer Gallery of Art / Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, Jan. 12- Feb 18


History Recalls and NOTHING HAS CHANGED including artists: Nasser Palangi, Farideh Zariv, Rania Matar, Naveed Nou, January 8-27, 2007 at the Curry Student Center Art Gallery


Under The Indigo Dome, Works on paper, canvas and walls by Amir Fallah and Ala’ Ebtekar, January 18 - February 12, 2007 at The Third Line Gallery

New York:  

Elements of Structure, showcasing Qatari artist Waleed Rasheed Qaisi, December 7, 2006 at the Agora Gallery

Emna Zghal: The Tree Of My Mind at M.Y. Art Prospects Gallery from Jan 11 thru Feb 17, 2007

Changing Climate, Changing Colors: Works of Contemporary Muslim Artists at the Abrons Art Center from Jan 16th -- March 17th, 2007

Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art at the University of North Texas Art Gallery, January 19 to March 31, 2007


Eternal Flame: Imagining a future at the end of the world at the California Institute of Arts, February 14 - April 8, 2007

  Al Riwaq Art Gallery presents an exhibition of the works of of Ahmed Moualla, February 13 through March 1, 2007

Zeitgeist is proud to present the first ever NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL, JANUARY 19 – 28, 2007 at the Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center, featuring CinemaEast's LENS ON SYRIA


Zamalek Art Gallery cordially invite you to the opening Reception of the Exhibition for Artist: FAROUK HOSNY, January 21, 2007 through February 14th, 2007.


Le Piliers du Pouvoir: An exhibition of work by Mireille Honein, Jan 17- Feb 3 at the Galerie Janine Rubeiz

The UK:

A FUTURE FOR THE PAST: Petrie’s Palestinian Collection, January9 to March 24, 2007 at the Brunei Gallery

50,320 Names: Installation by Khalil Rabah, January 25 through March 24, 2007at the Brunei Gallery

PARANOIA - Exhibition at the Freud Museum, featuring the work of over 40 international artists including: Rana Bishara, Khaled D. Ramadan, Jackie Salloum, Larissa Sansour and Akram Zaatari, Jan 10 – March 11, 2007.


The RC - AAS Project: “The Seasons of Tell-Al Hejara”, January 31, 2007, at Gallery Mustafa Ali, Damascus

Atassi Gallery cordially invites you to the opening of the Exhibition of Hasan Musa, January 24th through February 24, 2007